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Is this blindingly obvious?

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Nick Clarke 317/09/2021 11:29:39
1395 forum posts
61 photos

I have had my Ender 3d printer for a while now but it fell out of use after I finished my first reel of Creality branded filament with zero problems and bought another reel of a different brand from a major internet supplier.

This filament kept sticking as it pulled off the reel ruining prints despite having fitted a guide to give a smoother feed.

Decided it was the (admittedly cheap) reel so bought another. Same jamming.

Frustrated 3D printing was ignored for a while until I bought a pair of the reel holders with ballraces fitted so instead of sitting on the top of the printer the reel sits on the bench alongside and feeds almost directly into the feeder. Problem solved.

Is this so blindingly obvious I should have known to do this all along or one of the hidden mysteries of 3D printing?

not done it yet17/09/2021 12:06:28
6736 forum posts
20 photos

Hi Nick,

What you clearly understand is that cheap does not mean best. Most cheap ‘knock-offs’, as we know from cheap imported machines, need fixing in one way or another - often to bring them up to a usable standard. Same with 3-D printers and accessories, I suppose.

At least you are thinking/have thought about the problem. Many don’t.

Jeff Dayman17/09/2021 12:49:45
2223 forum posts
47 photos

Hi Nick, It was not obvious to me either that good quality filament is a must with Ender 3 and also that the as-delivered very basic reel holder can cause feed problems. I have since been buying a better PLA plus filament and also PETG filament, and have very few build issues now. I also built a separate reel holder off the machine, with a centre axle holding ball bearings in printed hubs fitting the reels. A couple of shaft collars hold the reel on and keep the printed hubs engaged in the wheel. The reel holder was made of steel scrap and hangs from the floor joist above the machine, so it is completely isolated from machine vibration and feeds straight horizontally, from left side, into the Ender 3 extruder. It has improved things greatly and cost very little to make.

I also replaced the as-supplied build mat with a Creality glass bed plate - major improvement - and an all metal extruder. This extruder is better than the original but not optimal. Will be looking for a better extruder design on the next machine I buy.

All that said, I think my Ender 3 was excellent value for money and a great way to get started with 3D printing in the home shop. It has paid for itself many times over, by making usable assembly fixturing and press form tooling, working prototypes for linkages and mechanisms, and replacement parts for broken plastic bits (low stress indoor use parts). My two nieces have also had a ball with it making toys and action figures, movie characters, characters from books (most notably a family of 3 "Totori" characters from a popular book from Japan).

Bazyle17/09/2021 20:02:37
6297 forum posts
222 photos

If you start with the reel on top of the frame I think it becomes obvious 30 seconds into the first print that the sharp angle of the filament into the drive mechanism is bad news and also (on mine) the reel with a large central hole resting on a much smaller non rotating 'axle' is a high friction mess. I first packed the spool to put the axle on centre then jury rigged a Meccano holder beside the machine rather than above. Been meaning to make a ball race holder so thanks for the reminder.

Marcus Bowman14/10/2021 07:38:50
179 forum posts

I ended up 3D printing large cones into which I pressed ball bearings. They are then pushed into each side of the central hole in a reel. They are mounted on a rod with screwed ends and sit in an 'A' frame supplied with my printer (but easy enough to make, as I think you have discovered) sitting to one side of the printer, on the bench. That gives a nice smooth naturally curved path into the extruder, and that arrangement has always worked for me. It's the deluxe version of Bazyle's arrangement. If you go this route, print several of the cones, to save having to swap them into the next reel you need to use. I did find one make of reel needs a different size of cone, but its easy to print a size to suit.

I use the same mid-price brand of filament most of the time (SUNLU). Works for me, so I tend to stick to that brand. I have occasionally used other brands, but never the cheap stuff.


Howi14/10/2021 09:53:59
354 forum posts
19 photos

3d printers have improved tremendously in the last couple of years and come down in price quite a lot.

I took the plunge this year and started to research what was available, after much 'umming and 'arhing settled for an Artillery Genius as it offered a lot of bang for reasonable bucks. The average price seemed to be about £340 which compared well with Ender 3 and others (at about £250). I was about to do the deed when I spotted an advert from BangGood with a price of £178 - too good to miss. Came from UK warehouse in less than 48hrs and has been superb. I too use Sunlu filament and found it a quality product. Only had one filament jam caused by an overlap on a different brand filament reel. Reel of filament sits on top gantry like most 3d printers but the real sits on ball bearings and puls of realy easily. It also helps having a direct extruder rather than bowden tube. Heavy learning curve to begin with, lots to learn about type of bed, bed adheasion, bed temp. bed leveling, first layer deposition etc.

the only mod I have done other than print extra covers for various parts of the printer and heater cable support, is to replace the (good quality) yellow bed leveling springs with silicon replacement springs. The bed now needs very little in the way of adjustment between prints, in fact non over the last dozen prints.

One thing I have learned, is that, auto bed leveling DOES NOT level the bed, it just tries to fool the software that the bed is level - go figure.

Oldiron14/10/2021 11:38:59
963 forum posts
40 photos
Posted by Jeff Dayman on 17/09/2021 12:49:45:

The reel holder was made of steel scrap and hangs from the floor joist above the machine.

devil Most people would call that a ceiling beam. devilwink He says, hiding behind the couch. LoL


Mark Easingwood14/10/2021 12:43:52
46 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by Oldiron on 14/10/2021 11:38:59:
Posted by Jeff Dayman on 17/09/2021 12:49:45:

The reel holder was made of steel scrap and hangs from the floor joist above the machine.

devil Most people would call that a ceiling beam. devilwink He says, hiding behind the couch. LoL


Chamber Joist, when I was an apprentice.



Jeff Dayman14/10/2021 14:08:30
2223 forum posts
47 photos

I don't really see the point in arguing about names of components in residential buildings in a thread about 3D printing, but in Canada where I am, the part in question is most certainly called a floor joist, They are in my basement workshop and support the floor above. They do not support a ceiling, as a ceiling joist would do here. As far as I know the term "chamber joist" is not used where I am in Canada (and I studied architectural drafting in Ontario for 3 years in high school, so I am very familiar with building construction component names here)

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